I'm just going to jump right in and discuss my thoughts when picking up a piece of classical text. I've never really classed myself as a huge Shakespeare buff, although I appreciate the beauty in his language, I'm only just beginning to really enjoy exploring classical plays, as opposed to cowering away from them...
So why am I discussing this now? I've just been cast in my final third year show at LIPA, a Thomas Middleton classic tragedy, Women Beware Women. I'm honestly so excited to get my teeth into it, but I guess this little article is a way to get rid of my fear for classical text. I know, and have been told many times before that these older plays should be approached, in a way, no differently to the way in which contemporary texts are. They both have structure, characters, lines for those characters, and usually a big ole' twist. So why is it so bloody scary? For some its not, and that is fantastic, but for others - like myself - it takes a bit of time to really feel confident in attacking the language and meaning.
I find physicalizing the text can be more helpful when creating the arc of a character, rather than sitting down for hours with endless cups of tea's and google definition at hand, which can be quite tearful to say the least. Of course defining the language and really finding the ins and outs of the words and their structure is vital when understanding the play; but then I try to incorporate that within the physical rehearsals to find a happy medium between the meaning and the creation.
So really, there is nothing to be scared about. I of course will still be terrified on our first day of rehearsal, and I'm not perfect with Shakespeare quotes or references, but a really important thing, especially when you're scared, is to take ownership.